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Discussion Starter #1
Sugar is now 7 months. It's almost time for her first heat. I have seen conflicting opinions about when to spay. One group says to wait until the bones are fully developed (about 1 year) to help prevent hip dysplasia and joint problems later on, while the other group says to spay before the first heat to help prevent certain types of cancer.

Opinions?
 

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My opinion, also is spay - there's really no documented proof of spaying after 1 yr preventing anything-
Personally I did it for Roxie and Gracie -and Guinness at 6-8 months- no need to welcome strolling males to fight with Guinness and Timer-
Timer was at another kennel until the age of 6. He was intact when he arrived- I had him de-sexed at 6 1/2 because we had to wait for a UTI and then another issue with Lyme disease.............other than that he'd have been fixed the day after he arrived......

Look in the Urgent section - there are plenty of reasons you want to never make the mistake of "littering" there are simply too many to have a woops.......
(Again this is only my opinion - you do what your heart tells you to)
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Actually, there are long term studies (I think A&M did them) which show that delaying spaying does reduce the incidence of HD and joint problems. The flip side is that allowing the first heat raises the incidence of various female organ cancers. So you're trading one evil for another.
 

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I am on the other side from Jean. I have late spayed two of my females. Unless they have Mammary gland cancer before the age of 10 or 11 years old, I will continue to think the way I think. I have seen dogs live with Mammary Gland Cancer for more than 2 years with little problems. Normally the cancer in Mammary Glands is very well contained and it isn't normally one of the aggressive cancers.
 

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One of the reasons Dante will be getting a brother some day instead of a sister. I'm on the spay later side but I just really don't want to do the heat thing.
Luckily for me Dante will be fine with another male around the house!
 

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WiscTiger, how late do you think is ideal for the health/well being of the bitch? Why is this your preference? Do you breed?

What I've seen indicates there 'might' be a slight edge to spaying before the 1st heat. It was considerably less conclusive than the data from intact vs neutered males. IF I had an intact female this would be a tough decision.
 

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My opinion is to wait. I would rather risk mammary cancer, the risk bone cancer and joint problems. That is just my opinion, that and four bucks will buy you a gallon of gas in my neighborhood.

Why I believe this is that for women, when they have to have their uterus removed, they usually try to leave an ovary in there. The estrogen that it generates provides enough hormones to delay/prevent other issues.

Vets know a lot, and medicine is pretty advanced, but we and our dogs are such complex beings that we are always learning more. I would rather leave the hormones where they are, and protect my bitch from an unwanted pregnancy, than to spay. At least I would allow my bitch to reach sexual maturity before spaying.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
I did some additional reading and it seems that early spaying is mostly frowned upon by researchers. They generally say to wait. How long to wait is in dispute. But one report suggested spaying as late as possible, but before the first heat (7 months or so) since most of the bone development has taken place by this point. Working dogs were better off being spayed at 14 months when the bones were 100% complete.

I have a secure area which means waiting out a heat cycle is not really a problem. But another issue has arisen in that Sugar's hormones are starting to kick in (I think) and she's becoming intolerant of the other female dogs living here who are much smaller than her. The concern is for their safety now. So it looks like she's going to get spayed soon.
 

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If you think that will help. There are studies that say that spayed females temperaments are acutally a little sharper than intact females. If you want to keep multiple bitches, you have to be a strong leader and have the means of keeping them separate indefinitely.

Arwen is now spayed. She will be seven soon. No change whatsoever when it comes to her intolerance of Jenna. So for sure, intact bitches can be bitchy around other bitches. I do not believe spaying a bitch will make a positive difference.

Spaying will remove the heat cycles and added hormones that go with it. So if you find bitch-bitch aggression to be cylical that perhaps spaying may help. I have not seen that to be the case at all though.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Well, a write up by the spca suggests that hormones may be contributing to the problem. They also mentioned that she is at an age where this type of behavior is not uncommon as she is now entering adolescence and is likely posturing for her adult social dominance. Hopefully, it's just a phase and will eventually settle down. She is doing better today for some reason.

Sugar is old enough now to consider spaying and I was going to have her spayed anyway since I have no interest in breeding her. The local vet can't take her until the end of the month so she'll be 8mos when the procedure is performed. In the mean time, I just have to watch her and keep them separated when I'm not around.
 

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The SPCA has an agenda and you have to be careful with everything you read that they put out. Maybe they would not flat out lie about something, but they ARE convinced that getting every dog in the world spayed/neutered would be ideal. And there seems to be a trending toward the attitude that the ends justify the means.

So, if they get you to spay your bitch, your bitch will not contribute to the canine population. And it doesn't really matter if there are unwanted and unnecessary side effects.

Since your bitch is an individual, even within her litter, there is no way to say for certain that spaying her did or did not change her behavior. Most animals are speutered when they are in the process of maturing and going to go through some changes anyway. So if your bitch becomes more or less agressive after a spay, it may have nothing whatsoever to do with the spay at all.

If you take a litter of six female pups and rais them the same, and spay three before sexual maturity and allow three to remain intact until after sexual maturity and then monitor their behavior, there is still no way to say for sure because each of the six has a different pack order, some are naturally soft, others are less soft, some are independent others are less so, and so forth.

As I do not think I want to go to anyone with a PHD in Doggy Psychology, I am going to stick with the physical stuff that hormones do, and why they are. I think they have a purpose, so if I choose to spay, it will be after they have reached their full potential -- probably three years old.
 
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